5 Proven Strategies to Prevent Altitude Sickness During Trek
18 Sep 2023 Chandra Gurung
Mountain trekking can be often exhausting! The main issue that everyone fears is getting hit by altitude sickness above the high altitude. It can be a threatening condition when you ascend quickly in the mountain ranges, above 3600m from the sea level.
Altitude sickness requires proper medical attention to avoid any sort of hazardous effects like the deposition of fluid in extremely vital human organs like the brain and lungs. But, through proper precaution, you can maintain your health and also take action for effective treatment in cases of emergency.
Different Types of Altitude Sickness
1. Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS)
It is a mild level mountain sickness caused by trekking at high altitude ranges. You may face difficulty in sleeping, dizziness, fatigue, vomiting, and shortness of breath, because of AMS. The sickness is witnessed at around, 3800 m above sea level.
Altitude Mountain sickness gradually increases if you climb faster in mountain heights. Your body’s oxygen level must be well acclimatized before stepping higher in the altitude ranges. Symptoms are:
- Additional dizziness
- Muscle aches, hangover
2. High altitude Pulmonary edema (HAPE)
High-altitude Pulmonary edema is non-cardiogenic pulmonary edema, which causes extreme difficulty in breathing. It can be life-threatening, if not prevented within time. Because of this altitude sickness, hazardous results, like fluid in the lungs, may also result. The other chronic symptoms are:
- Cyanosis (Blue colored pigmentation in skin)
- Congestion or Chest tightness
- Coughing up with blood
- Pale complexion
- Inability to walk
3. High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE)
High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) is a life-threatening disease resulting from altitude sickness. It is a chronic and severe form of acute Mountain sickness in which fluid accumulates in the brain, resulting in its swelling.
The conditions generally result above 4000m above sea level. Because of HACE, extreme exhaustion is caused, resulting in extreme difficulty in breathing. Other symptoms are:
- buildup of fluid in the brain
- Hallucination and related visual disturbances
- Extremely fatal form of altitude sickness.
- Lack of coordination in the body, ataxia
- Altered mental State
How to Prevent Altitude Sickness in Manaslu Circuit Trek?
Altitude sickness can be mild and gradually increase to a severe form, hampering lungs, and brains, and being fatal as leading to death. To remain safe from oxygen insufficiency at high altitudes, you need to take consideration of the following measures and ensure good health.
Here’s how to deal with Altitude Sickness and prevention during Manaslu Circuit Trek.
1. Avoid Cigarette and Alcohol
Cigarettes and Alcohol are hazardous to your health. Especially in high altitudes, their intake can result in more complexities in case of altitude sickness. Cigarette impact decreases oxygen intake in the body and affects lung functions.
On the other hand, alcohol can impact your body by causing dehydration and impairing your decision-making potential in altitude ranges, increasing proximity of risk. Thus, you can avoid cigarettes, alcohol, and even tobacco-related products when trekking in high altitudes.
Even, the use of sleeping pills can also cause health issues, hence, avoiding such is advised. Being more thoughtful about what you intake and taking care of your body needs is what prevents you from the risk of a severe form of altitude sickness in Manaslu Circuit Trek.
2. Proper Acclimatization
When our body is learning to deal with less oxygen at high altitudes, it is crucial on our part to rest properly. With acclimatization, the body’s response to lower oxygen is positive. Because of this, you can have the opportunity to hike with greater effort.
You need to listen to your body, rest properly, and ascend slowly to prevent altitude sickness. For taking care of yourself. Checking your heart rate and pulse frequently, maintaining a good appetite, and sleeping properly must be taken into consideration. Along with strength and power, you need a smart technique to enjoy high ranges in Manaslu Circuit Trek. Allowing your body to cope with physiological adaptations in areas where the level of oxygen is gradually low is key to preventing any sort of risk when conquering the Manaslu Circuit Trek.
3. Proper Nutrition and Hydration
Staying hydrated throughout the trek route, and drinking plenty of water 3 to 5 liters per day, is suggested. Your body is actively functioning in the range with less oxygen, hence, hydration is a key to sustaining your body.
As your body is working more, taking plenty of carbohydrates and food packed with nutrients is advised to cope with body needs. It can help you have a fulfilling trekking experience by meeting bodily requirements.
Meeting the caloric needs of the body when trekking in the Manaslu Circuit region is essential for healthy trekking. Good nutrition with pulses, cereals, fibers, and adequate carbohydrates can help you keep going on uneven terrain.
Balancing macronutrients, taking healthy fats, and proteins, and planning structured meal times can be helpful. At times of weakness, packing light and portable snacks that are rich in nutrients is suggested. Meanwhile, avoiding dehydration and understanding the importance of a balanced diet and bodily needs with respect to fluctuation in altitude ranges are advised. With these simple considerations, you can elevate your trekking experience and also enhance better trekking and physical performance.
4. Descend for Sleep
You can prepare yourself for strategic rest days during Manaslu Circuit Treks. When planning your trekking itinerary, it is essential for you to plan your sleep at lower-altitude campsites. Also, looking for villages where you can sleep peacefully is suggested.
As per the stats, you are not recommended to sleep above 500 m from the previous sleeping altitude level, for proper acclimatization during nighttime. Descending for sleep has its own sort of advantages.
You can get better availability of oxygen at lower village sites. You can have a reduced risk of altitude sickness and optimal acclimatization. This strategy can ensure a safe yet relaxing trekking experience. Also, your quality of sleep can improve with warmer temperatures when you descend for sleep.
5. Medication for Altitude Sickness
Coping with altitude sickness in high altitude ranges can often be tough. Generic pills are taken to prevent altitude sickness and its complexities. Certain medically recommended medications for AMS are Acetazolamide, dexamethasone, or nifedipine.
Diamox is prescribed both for the precaution and treatment of altitude sickness to adjust oxygen requirements in the body. It shall be taken in proper dosages prescribed by medical personnel.
Ibuprofen is recommended to get relief from muscle aches and headaches in a mild form of altitude sickness. Alongside, anti-nausea medications like Zofran, and Phenergan are provided to deal with severe forms of nausea and vomiting. Additionally, medications for emergency situations are also there, such as dexamethasone, which prevents the swelling of the brain at high altitudes. Apart from this, in certain cases, oxygen supplements are provided to increase oxygen levels, through the process of oxygen therapy.
Manaslu Circuit Trek can be challenging, and to deal with altitude sickness that may arise, you can adopt the aforementioned prevention techniques at an altitude above 3500m, where oxygen starts to decrease.
By choosing the state of avoiding cigarettes and sobriety, including high-nutrient meals and snacks, you can prepare yourself physically for the trek. Make sure, you are accountable regarding your choices to stay safe in the Manaslu Circuit Trek and enjoy the trek to the fullest.